The fact that I would be competing in the 1st Asian Para Games in less than a week hadn't really sunk in till yesterday night - when i was frantically memorising the athletes' pledge i was due to recite today as part of the flag presentation ceremony for the 1st Asian Para Games (APG). True I had gone through the routine of twice a week training sessions, coming up with a game plan, completing participation papers for APG, collecting the official Team Singapore contingent attire, etc. But it didn't dawn on me that I'll be flying off to Guangzhou, China for the games on 10 Dec 2010. Running through the pledge in my head gave me the opportunity to reflect on what sports and representing Singapore meant to me.
"In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in the 1st Asian Games,"
I felt this line alone carried so much responsibility. To represent the other 23 Singapore athletes and make a promise on their behalf is an honour.
"respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them,"
Rules are created to ensure proper conduct and clarity can be maintained when decisions are to be made. Boccia may involve subjective elements and that's where the referee's judgement and decision must be respected.
"committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs,"
Sports is about human strength - both mental and physical skills. Hence it is only fair that when we compete, we compete with our skills and without enhancements. In fact, in boccia, athletes are already classified according to various types and degrees of disability to level the playing field.
"in the true spirit of sportsmanship,"
In the past, there were instances when circumstances were not in my favour and the injustice seemed too much for me to handle. But in the spirit of sportsmanship, I knew I must not make a mountain out of a molehill and the games must go on. When I learn to let to go of things beyond my control and move on, I'm able to focus better on my games.
"for the glory of sport and the honour to our nation."
It is truly an honour to be selected as a national representative. Not everyone is given this opportunity therefore I must put in effort, give a good fight and show the world that atheletes in disability sports can similarly bring honour to Singapore.
The pledge recital moment is already a blur in my head but I was told I neither missed any words nor fumbled. Phew.